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MY ONLINE FRAUD STORY- Part Two

The Course

What I discovered that instead of a high quality content course this company offered:

  • Very sketchy video material some of which was out of date
  • A support line staffed with students with questionable knowledge
  • Conflicting advice and no continuity
  • An expensive monthly hosting and site building program
  • The support line had no knowledge of the technical side
  • A locked in supply system with a monthly charge
  • Phone support such as it was ended and the email support gave completely different directions. This necessitated me spending more money to have my header redesigned.
  • The inability for the web host to accommodate more than a limited number of merchant accounts that could clear credit cards.
  • The inability for the site builder to pull the images from the supplier on to the site in the correct size.
  • Constant phone calls from SEO companies telling the site was all wrong and wanting to sell me expensive SEO services. This was extremely strange as I have several other sites and never get calls about them.

I took me far too long to realize that the whole thing was a fraud. All of the knowledge that was being offered can be found on the Internet for free. The web site building program could be had for a one time charge at less than the monthly plan or possibly for free and the hosting could also be found for less. At the time I was approached I did not have enough knowledge to ask the right questions. I was so anxious to find a comprehensive source from which to learn that I was blind to what was being offered and how it was being offered.

If you are approached be cautious. Don’t let anyone talk you into giving your financial information. Don’t let anyone talk you into signing a contract without researching them. If they are truly legitimate the offer will stand until you have checked them out. Be careful at giving out your phone number.

My Online Fraud Story Part One

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MY ONLINE FRAUD STORY

The Process

On one of the emails I receive regularly there was a recent post about an “internet guru” admitting to fraud, The gist of this admission was take the money, deliver “something” and DO NOT CARE whether you ever succeed. They DO NOT CARE.

This hit a nerve with me. As a recent victim of internet fraud and thinking that as Senior Internet Marketers we might be more prone to online fraud; I thought it might be useful to post a bit about it. In my case I was looking for a program that I could follow that would be similar to taking a college course on Internet marketing. My expectations were that it would be a series of lessons followed by a question and answer session. I was looking for something that would start at the beginning and progress through to a high degree of useful information and skill level.

What turned out was nothing like my expectations. I had not searched for such a program but I was interested in finding one. I am not sure where this outfit got my phone number (I am now very reluctant to give it out). I was phoned by something I now find out is a fulfillment company. The sole purpose of these people is to find people with the financial means to be able to afford a reasonably expensive investment.

The first part of this process was to extract from me my ability to pay. The second step was for a very smooth talking salesperson to sign me up for this course. The promise was that this institution would teach me to build a web site that would earn me six figures in six month’s time. Now I did not believe all of this but I did think that I would earn enough to get a return on my investment and then go on to build on that.

Having agreed to the program I had to sign the contract immediately and charge it to my credit card or lose this chance. I was never informed that the contract could be retracted at any time. I now understand that in the that state’s law I could have retracted it any time within 10 days. I point this out not because I was smart enough to have researched this company and withdrawn my contract but to give the readers of this blog a heads up that contracts can be cancelled.

The next part of this scam was for a fast talking lawyer to phone and sell me the idea of setting up a company. This would cost approximately $2,500.00 plus monthly charges for an agent to receive and disburse the revenue from the site. I was told this had to be done with 45 days or the cost of the course could not be written off. Fortunately I dismissed this out of hand. I did not think it was necessary until there was an indication of some revenue.
My Online Fraud Story Part Two

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Focus for the Year Will Help Increase Your Earnings

The biggest problem I find is setting out a plan for the year and focusing on that plan.. It is easy to be swerving all over the place – from trying to learn Pay per Click to launching new Squidoo lenses to working on an info product.

It’s called information overload, and clearing out the hard drive doesn’t solve it – it only makes more room to buy other stuff you don’t need yet. There is a better way, if you’re willing to look ahead for the year and make a plan now instead of planning as you go.

Part of the problem is that you’re like a kid in a candy or toy store. You’re looking at one shiny new object in aw of it and suddenly see another new shiny object out f the corner of your eye, so you run and grab that one. The object in this case might be a new eBook, personal coaching lessons, or a strategy someone mentioned in a forum.

For this year, let’s do it better! Sit down with a calendar and map out your plan of attack month by month. You have 365 days to fill – and make sure you leave some room for time off, because everyone needs that in order to perform at his or her best.

First consider what kind of business you want to build. If it’s info product creation, then you’ll want to brainstorm a list of all tasks you have to do that are associated with that, such as: niche market research, keyword list building, outline and creation of the info product, sales copy creation and tweaking, affiliate recruitment, list building, etc.

Organize the tasks in a certain timeline – what comes first? Don’t worry about PPC ads when you haven’t even completed your eBook yet. Give each task a timeframe. How long does it take to write the eBook? Map it out on your calendar, but be flexible and don’t panic if it takes a little longer. These are just guidelines.

Then pencil in the tasks that have to be repeated over the course of the year. For example, keyword research doesn’t end in some niche markets. You may find that trends affect the way people are searching and knowing things as soon as possible helps you capitalize on the evolution within the niche.

Don’t let new guides take you away from your mission. Unsubscribe from the lists that continually do nothing but hard sell you on new strategies and pie in the sky promises and focus on those that motivate you to get things completed.

This year can be your year. It can be the year that you finally get from point A to point Z and celebrate the journey you’ve been on. Promise yourself that you won’t veer off-course until you’ve met your commitments and seen some results.

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CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

You have done your research, picked your niche, registered your domain, and set up your hosting plan. The next step is to create the web site. To do this you need a content management system. The best explanation of this is a  content management system is a “computer application used to create, edit, manage, and publish content in a consistently organized fashion (wikipedia, 2009).”

There are a number of different choices and many of them are free. Many people use Front Page which was discontinued in 2006. It was replaced by Office SharePoint Designer 2007 for the enterprise information workers and Expression Web for the professional Web designer. Another very popular program is Adobe Dreamweaver. I cannot comment on either as I have not used them.

When I started I was taking a course that was being built using Drupal. Many more experienced people expressed the opinion that this was too complicated a system for a beginner. I did not know what I was doing but I just followed along. The idea behind the site was to build a community site where others could contribute their experiences, add their images, and participate in the forum discussions. A good review of the many advantages and some of the drawbacks to Drupal can be found at http://www.advancedwebdesign.com/drupal-review.

After a time it was decided that the site should be moved to SocialGo. This is an easier site for participants to add their content. A good review of this can be found at >http://www.brighthub.com/internet/web-development/reviews/47032.aspx. From my point of view the verdict is still out on this. I have not found it particularly easy to add areas to monetize the system and I don’t like the idea that you can nit control your files on it. However I am willing to give it time.

Award winning Xsitepro2 at $197.00 is probably the best investment for beginners who want a desktop content management application. This is an easy to use, straightforward program. It delivers more than it promises and is extremely time saving. The many templates, the easy and speed with which you can build a site, the support, the step by step manual and the built-in SEO analyzer make this an excellent choice for a marketer. With this system there is no need to know HTML, PHP and you can easily customize your site. Xsitepro2 is great choice for beginner and experienced site builders.

In exploring different ways of constructing a website I came across Info Product Killer. For me this was a great way to learn about the construction of a page, some HTML, titles, alt tags, linking and adding images. This program is delivered with step by step videos. Easy to follow instructions in both the video presentation and printed material made it possible to quickly build money making web sites. Craig Kaye who created this has been extremely supportive. If you email him a question allowing for the time difference there is an almost immediate response. I think this would have been the best starting point for me.

Having been at this for a little while and now having hindsight I wish I had started with WordPress. This is a free web based blogging system which can be used to set up any web site. For a basic understanding of setting up a WordPress site there is excellent free information at

If you are looking to set up a static web site there this is possible. There are hundreds of free themes available by googling WordPress free themes. I think when I began I thought to use WordPress that you needed to come up with some original thought about yourself or a world event. However WordPress can be used to add any consistent content that you can think up. There is an excellent book available WordPress for Dummies by Lisa Sabin-Wilson. If I was starting at the beginning I think I would concentrate on learning all the ins and outs of WordPress.

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TO START YOUR INTERNET MARKETING CAREER DO YOU NEED A NEW COMPUTER

If you have a state of the art new computer system upon which to start your Internet Marketing business you are probably zipping through websites and files at astronomical speeds. Unfortunately for some, that’s not the case.

Not only are they working from a computer system that freezes up and is plagued by viruses, but their connection to the online world is still set at dial-up speed. If this describes you, then you may want to consider investing in your upgraded computer equipment and tools for as a way to further your business growth.

Many top marketers have several computers set up on one desk so that they can multi-task. You don’t have to go that route (and some experts even say those who multi-task actually get less work done because their focus is split).

But you do need the bare minimum of essentials to help you make progress throughout the day. You can work on a desktop or a laptop computer. Many marketers have one of each – using the laptop for travel and daytime excursions so that they’re never out of touch for long with their business.

You need something with enough memory so that your system isn’t sluggish. If you have a virus, or more vulnerabilities, then you need to focus on cleaning up your system that you don’t risk losing your hard work or worse – infecting others with it.

If you’re committing to a routine schedule, such as investing 8 hours a day into your business, then set aside a workspace in your home or apartment. It doesn’t have to be a whole room – it can be a corner of a room, but make it for work purposes only.

Do you need a fax and printer? Maybe not. You may only need the software that helps you make graphics or convert text into PDF files. This will depend on what business model you pursue.

If it’s available in your area, upgrade your dial-up to a higher speed connection. This is well worth the additional expense because you’ll get more work done, faster, so you’ll see a return on your investment quickly.

For some people, upgrading their computer equipment may not be feasible right at the moment. But you can plan for it and begin saving for it little by little instead of just accepting the fact that you’re chained to an outdated system for the entire year.


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Blogging Explosion

You have found a niche, decided on a domain and set up your hosting. The next step is to decide what kind of a web site you wish to have. Do you want it to be static or do you want to run it as a blog? Let’s look at blogging.

The movie Julie and Julia took blogging mainstream for many who had no idea that an everyday, average individual could command attention and pursue their passion using an online technology available to the masses for free.

And it’s not just movies and rare blog success stories that make people want to blog. In 2009, the job market resulted in a ton of layoffs for journalists and print newspapers and magazines went out of business. These writers will take their skills to the Internet.

Blogging will boom even more than it already has in marketing circles. Just like reality TV has now become a career pursuit for some young adults, blogging is being viewed as a potential income source for those who don’t want to take the regular route to financial success.

Perez Hilton has been very open with the amount of money he’s raking in – and it’s substantial. There are so many blog success stories that you can learn from and apply them to your Internet Marketing strategy.

The Bankaholic blog was sold for $15 million. ArsTechnica sold for $25 million. PaidContent sold for $30 million. Someone recently commented that you can start a blog about Doritoes potato chips and once it gets rolling with traffic, wait and see how much they pay you to own it.

You’re going to find many grassroots bloggers who are flying by the seat of their pants. The one edge they may have over experienced marketers is that they don’t just get into a niche because it sounds lucrative – they do it because they truly have a passion for it.

That passion will translate into frequent blog posts and the building of a loyal and enthusiastic like-minded core audience. It will grow like a wildfire and when that traffic hits a certain number, competitors will come knocking at the door of these bloggers hoping to make an acquisition and funnel that traffic to their own interests.

Many of these bloggers you’ll be competing with won’t have the marketing savvy and insight to monetize their blogs as well as yours, so initially they may not see the same financial success. But don’t count them out if they’re fierce about feeding the Googlebots with constant content and ensuring they’re not hyping up their reviews in a way that violates current FTC rulings.

Your goal as a blogger should be to continue leaving breadcrumbs on a daily basis for search engine spiders. Make sure you utilize broad and long-tail keywords. Comply with FTC regulations about being transparent if you receive compensation for a review or testimonial. And narrow your niche down so that you have a high chance for success against the influx of new bloggers in the blogosphere.

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DOMAINS AND HOSTING

Once you have zeroed in on a topic or a niche you need to get a domain name and register it. It is better to try to have a keyword rich domain name. The domain name is the address or URL of your web site.

For example if we go back to our previous topic of Tiffany lamps, the best domain name would be tiffanylamps and it is necessary for it to be tiffanylamps.com. To check to see if this domain is available you need to check to see if it is available. There are a number of places where you can check this and one of these is World’s Largest Registrar – GoDaddy. When you open the GoDaddy screen you will immediately see a box that allows you to put in your domain name and click to see if it is available. In this case it has already been taken. However on the right of your screen you will see a box with some suggestions of available domains. Just select one. You only need one.

In trying to find a suitable domain that is keyword rich you can sometimes get lucky and just add a hyphen. For example you could try tiffany-lamps. In this instance it is already taken. Other suggestions to get a search engine friendly domain is to add best or my in front of the name. At a later time I will introduce you to Craig Kaye and his Info Product Killer in which he details the effectiveness of picking a highly targeted domain name.

Although GoDaddy is probably the largest domain registrar site and have highly competitive prices, there are other places to register your domain. GoDaddy likes to up-sell so I tend just to register my domain name with them. In fact you can probably do just as well to register your domain with BlueHost. They allow unlimited domains with a hosting plan.

It is said that Google prefers domains that are registered for at least two years. This is not entirely necessary if you are just getting started and are not sure if you are in this for the long haul.

A hosting company is where your web site’s files are stored and served up the Internet. This is also called your server. In picking a hosting company it is important to pick one that is reliable. You want your web site to be up all the time. The other feature that is necessary in a hosting company is a support system. If you run into a problem you need quick responsive help. Bluehost was recently awarded Best New Hosting Company and Best Customer Support by the some of the leading hosting review companies. They allow unlimited domains to be hosted under one plan. Many, many Internet publishers use HostGator that is a world-leading provider of shared, reseller and dedicated web hosting. With HostGator you can start with a baby plan. You can always upgrade later if you need more.

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Super Affiliates Affiliate Product Review

For many seniors we are looking to augment our retirement income with a monthly stream that allows us to live the same lifestyle that we had as full time wage earners. Finding the right direction to go to achieve this is often very confusing. We spend time going down this path then another path only to find they all lead to failure.

You’ve always wanted to earn money while staying at home but you’ve been hesitant to get into any products because you don’t know what’s good and what’s not. At this stage in your life you don’t want to have the financial responsibility for an inventory. That’s why you need to get started with affiliate marketing. It’s okay if you don’t even know what that means because Ewen Chia makes it easy to learn with his Super Affiliates course.

Maybe you’ve already tried selling products online or to your friends and family or even gone as far as going door to door. You believed in the product, shelled out the cost of the start up kit and enthusiastically got started – and ended up going nowhere financially.

The money you wanted to make didn’t happen and unlike the product promised, it wasn’t easy at all! It turned out to be the hardest work you’d ever done and you didn’t even see that much, if any, in profits. That’s why affiliate marketing is the best way to make money online.

Affiliate marketing is great for beginners because it enables you not to have to worry about keeping a warehouse full of products, the cost of shipping or a high overhead. Instead, you make money by promoting products online for other people.

You promote – they pay! Unlike selling products where you order a consultant kit or a shipment of goods and have to wait for them to arrive, with this course, you get the materials you need to give you the knowledge to start right away.

It doesn’t matter if the only thing you know about computers is how to push the button to power it up, you can still succeed. Don’t worry about the ins and outs of having to know a lot about the Internet.

You won’t have to know that because you’ll be shown step by step right from the start – including the blueprint to set up a website. Don’t worry that it’ll cost you a life savings to get started in affiliate marketing – it doesn’t.

Maybe you’re not a beginner. Maybe you’ve had some experience with affiliate marketing in the past, but you were left frustrated because once you ordered the information, you needed some help but there was no one on the other end you could turn to.

That’s what sets Ewen Chia’s Super Affiliates course apart from any other affiliate marketing tutorial. You don’t simply pay for the information and then you’re on your own. You’ll get step-by-step monthly guidance until you’re ready to make success happen on your own.

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Finding a Niche or Topic To Market

Before you can even think of constructing a web site you need to research what that web site will be about. It is highly desirable but not absolutely a necessity that the subject you choose is something in which you have an interest or passion. However if you are hoping to make an income from the web site you need to find a niche in which other people also have an interest.

A good place to start is to tour your home and write down all the items that intrigue you. Make a note of items that are part of your activities e.g. golf clubs, tennis rackets, skates, skis, cookbooks etc. Looking at your list you want to try to find a sub category. For example if you think of lamps or antique lamps you might be better to zero in on antique desk lamps or tiffany lamps. You want to try to find a popular subcategory of the broad subject of lamps.

A good starting point on this is to go to Google External Keyword Tool and type in your niche. If no one is searching for it there is no sense in building a web site about it. Scroll down the list of keywords that Google gives you. Look for at least 30,000 searches a month. Take this phrase and put it into Google search. If it returns 5,000,000 or fewer pages this might be a good niche to pursue. Using our example above if you search the external keyword tool for lamps it shows 9,140,000 searches a month and Tiffany lamps 368,000 searches. This definitely shows an interest in the broad topic of lamps and of Tiffany lamps. To check the competition that already exists go to Google search and you will find that for lamps there are 38,400,00. If you search for Tiffany lamps you will find that there are 734,000 pages. This indicates that your web site might have a good chance of ranking and being competitive. Besides the Google External Keyword Tool another free tool to use is http://freekeywords.wordtracker.com.

People will buy what they want not what they need or what you think they should buy. So you want to find a product that appeals to people’s needs and solves a problem that they have.

Finding a suitable niche is often a real stumbling block for people. If this is your problem, there is a program called Micro Niche Finder by James Jones. This is an easy to use tool in which you type your keyword e.g. lamps then the program will produce suggestions not only of keywords to use but daily search counts, and competition. Micro Niche Finder will give you a green light if this is a go or a red light if you should stay away from it.

It is a good idea to spend considerable time researching and deciding on your niche. There are some ways that you can pursue your topic without spending lots of money but at this point let us assume you have in mind to set up your own web site and fill it with information around that subject. Before you spend the money to buy a domain, finding hosting and decide on a content management system you want to be sure you have a viable niche.


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Finding a Starting Point

To learn a new skill there always has to be a staring point. As it happens some starting points are better than others and hindsight is a wonderful thing. For me this learning of Internet marketing has been a bit like climbing straight up a mountain. The hindsight that I now have would point me in answering the following questions first.

  1. 1. What is the web site going to be about and how do you figure this out?
  2. 2. You need a domain name – what is a domain name?
  3. 3. Your site must be “hosted”. What does this mean and how do you find a reliable, helpful company to host your site?
  4. 4. You need somewhere to put the content you are going to discuss. A content management system – what is this and how do you choose?
  5. 5. The content – how will it be created? Will you do it yourself or will you outsource it?
  6. 6. Outsourcing – what will you let someone else help you with – the writing or the tech stuff or maybe both?
  7. 7. Images – oh yes that would be nice. People love images. Where do find images? How do load them on your site?
  8. 8. How do make money from all this work that you are doing?

To this end Michael Jones recently produced a wonderful video program. There are 39 videos across 8 modules. He very carefully and deliberately teaches you everything you need to know from the first step to the last step of getting up and running on line.

The eight modules cover:

#1 Choosing a niche

#2 Picking your product

#3 Tech talk: Site setup

#4 Using an autoresponder

#5 Copywriting 101

#6 Driving free traffic

#7 Capture leads/track stats

#8 Get paid – take it to the next level

I truly think this is great place for any one just starting to get a good understanding of how to put things together. Don’t be put off by the rather rambunctious sales page. The actual pace and structure of the videos is delivered in a very down to earth, easy to follow manner. Looking over someone’s shoulder is a great way to learn and you can play the videos over and over again. If I have any criticism to make I found the printed material that accompanies the course a bit weak. However at the end of each module he does a live demonstration video on how to carry out the preceding steps. I highly recommend Affiliate Code.


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